John Muir was also known as “John of the Mountains” – which is a moniker that I’m sure captured the heart of this Scottish-American naturalist.
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Testicular Fortitude means having deep seated masculine courage and strength. Balls. Guts. Manlihood.
Testicular Fortitude on the Manlihood ManCast is where we take a look at men who have beat the odds, men whose courage has left a lasting legacy.
John Muir’s adventuresome heart reflects the courage and wanderlust of a man with Testicular Fortitude.
A philosopher, zoologist, botanist, glaciologist, and an advocate for the preservation of the North American Wilderness, he earned the title of “Father of National Parks.”
Born in Scotland, he endured many whippings from his father for pursuing “anything other than Bible studies.” Those pursuits included exploring the forests and coastline, and fighting.
His family moved to Wisconsin was he was 11, and he later went on to drop out of college, with enough chemistry, botany, and geology knowledge to devote to study the wilds.
He took a job in an Indianapolis wagon wheel factory, and his innovation and creativity helped him move up to the role of supervisor, but a freak accident would change the course of his life.
A file slipped and cut his cornea. And he spent the next several weeks recovering in a dark room hoping that he would regain his sight.
That pivotal moment in the darkness caused him to evaluate his purpose…
Muir said, “This affliction has driven me to the sweet fields. God has to nearly kill us sometimes, to teach us lessons”.
And he then devoted his life to exploration. He set off on a thousand mile hike from Kentucky to Florida, then he sailed to Cuba where he studied sea shells and plants, and after many other journeys, he ended up at Yosemite, where he fell in love with the land.
He founded the Sierra Club, which would advocate for the preservation of Yosemite and other places that would go on to become National Parks.
He personally guided President Teddy Roosevelt on a tour of Yosemite, and they slept beneath Sequias, and became friends.
Muir’s many writings describe not only the scientific observations of nature, but a theological and philosophical perspective that viewed nature as “straight from the hand of God.”
I’m honoring John Muir as a man with Testicular Fortitude, not only for his passion for nature, but for his ferocity in preserving it. At a time when the industrial revolution was in full swing, and progress and expansion required more and more from our natural resources, Muir fought back, and advocated not that progress should necessarily cease, but that wilderness itself was a virtue, and worth preserving.
I’ll end with this quote from John Muir.
“Keep close to Nature’s breasts… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb those voluptuous mountains or spend a week deep in the woods. Wash yourself clean…seriously wash yourself, you could get a disease or something.”